Why 'Rocket League' Killed All Its Weird Maps

Pro players mostly want standardization, but a one-size-fits-all approach has drawbacks.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/wjxyb4/why-rocket-league-killed-all-its-weird-maps

Competitive e-sports claims another victim. I really enjoyed some of those maps.

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Reminds me of Tekken 4 that has such good stages with destructive environment, angles, curves and the likes. It was fantastic, and it still remains the most visually striking Tekken but it was a pain to play. The game couldn’t balance it out, you could throw infinites because of the angle of the floor, you could mess someone up if he was unfortunate enough to be at the wrong side of the arena.

We never saw this kind of map ever again from Tekken. It was as understandable as it was sad. Tekken wanted to promote creativity, but it managed to put itself in a box that players would never want the franchise to come out of. The only thing left is Tekken 4, a glimpse of another future that the series could have been able to thrive in.

The only time I didn’t want to play those maps was when I would play the ranked playlists. They should keep them in the unranked ones???

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I do think there’s some really interesting merit to what Markydooda and Doomsee are quoted in the article. I do think that while there is a tension between ‘pro players’ and ‘casual players’, but I think there’s something more that is worth teasing out here (closely linked to the controversies around Blizzard messing with Mercy in Overwatch in my eyes).

The reason that Rocket League devs cite in this article is not professional player preference, but community feedback. There is a tendency by which fan communities tend to adopt a hegemonic view of ‘what the pros think’ and take it as their own, which I feel is something you can see in Hearthstone (this or that being broken/overpowered), Overwatch (‘oh Mercy is such bs’), or Rocket League (these maps). Even though none of those things are unanimous among pros (with dissenters including some of the top tier players) and that there are legitimate arguments for why, say, that card is actually fine or the pitches are actually skillful, the community takes an idea or impression and runs with it.

Maybe that’s total rubbish, it’s just where I’m sitting on this topic right now.


This is a really good point and one worth exploring, definitely not rubbish. Louder / more popular streamers and professionals can kind of set the tone for these discussions and it seems to snowball from there as the community picks it up and runs with it. Mercy is a great example, her ultimate having started underpowered and needing to be buffed with invincibility and movement to “Rez has always been completely unbalanced and Mercy is ruining the game.”

I’m kind of sad of the standardization of all maps. When I first played Rocket League, a “standard” map helped me learn the game and flow. After the addition of Wasteland it was a weird few weeks of learning, but ultimately I feel like it made me play better, overall I liked that it was different. After they included Neo Tokyo I finally learned how to adequately fly in the game, thanks to that map. I’m not a very vocal person online or offline, but I was one of the few that embraced the non-standard maps and advocated for it (and was downvoted a lot for it subsequently). I hoped for a day where there would be a 50/50 split between standard and non-standard maps.

This move by Psyonix feels like a 180 turn, but coming more than 2 years after the launch I can understand it in a way. It probably would be easier for new players to learn the game.

Then a year or two later Psyonix can do another 180 and bring a lot of different maps again, because part of the game might become stale, even with new cars and cosmetics. Different maps put you in different situations that help you learn how to be a better player, just like playing 1v1 can make you a better player if you only play 2v2s or 3v3s, and playing on different maps makes you learn better than playing on custom workshop corses made by other people, in my opinion. Although Psyonix have added different modes, they don’t get as much attention or spotlight unfortunately, Hoops and Dropshot are modes that suit players who know how to properly fly, Rumble is fun and great to destress with but is burried in menus. I feel like Psyonix should definitely add, if not a Rumble or Hoops Ranked Playlist, then at least a Non-Standard maps only Ranked playlist. The playerbase is only growing and the chance that a playlist will just stay empty is small.

In an ideal world this would simply lead to multiple formats in much the same way the Magic: The Gathering can be played in different formats. Keep the standard format for consistency and appealing to other sports but establish a “chaos” format with the more unusual maps. Overwatch does something similar with the various game modes in Brawls. I also can’t stop imagining how boring Counterstrike would be if it was only 1 map or just re-skins of the same map.

Also, maybe I misread this, but did they take the non-standard maps out of casual play too? That just seems unnecessary.

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